Australia remains in mourning after Alan Bond, the nation’s most famous sufferer of amnesia, passed away on Friday aged 77 in Perth. Mr Bond was famous for a few things in his life, including winning the America’s Cup, ripping off $1.2 billion from investors in his Bell resources group and his miraculous recovery from amnesia.
In 1994, as the worlds largest bankrupt and fraud case took place in Sydney’s federal court, Mr Bond’s first bout of amnesia started taking hold. As he faced his interrogators, who were chasing the $50 million fortune he had hidden offshore, Australia’s most dynamic entrepreneur stared into space like a zombie, leading observers to ask if he had suffered some form of brain damage.
At the time, the investigators were asking Mr Bond about bank accounts in Switzerland and Jersey, companies in Liechtenstein and properties in London, but unfortunately he was unable to remember a thing. During his questioning, he would pop a pill into his mouth or pause for a minute and ask for the question to be repeated.
A year later, as he married his second wife, his amnesia miraculously disappeared, leading doctors to call Mr Bond’s recovery “A bloody miracle”. Dr Michael Stanley from the Australian Amnesia Sufferers Support Group said: “In all my time in helping amnesia sufferers, I have never seen someone recover with speed that Alan did. Sometimes recovery can take months if not years, but Alan practically recovered overnight.”
Mr Bond’s amnesia would sometimes re-appear, especially when being questioned by journalists and QCs. In 2008, Bond’s amnesia was finally cured when he made a return to the Business Review Weekly‘s “Rich 200 List”, in 157th spot, with an estimated wealth of $265 million — thanks primarily to his stakes in Madagascar Oil and Global Diamond Resources.
Mr Bond will be remembered with a memorial service to be held at The Christopher Skase Chapel at Bond University later this week.
Gus W. Templeton